18 February 2009

Heated Dáil Debate over Banking Scandals

While more than 4000 civil servants and public sector workers - including Gardaí - were protesting outside Leinster House against the proposed new pension levy today (see entry below), a heated debate was going on inside the Dáil chamber.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen (left) angrily denied suggestions that he was attempting to protect anyone involved in the Anglo Irish Bank share scandal.
He accused Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny of "impugning his reputation", a charge vehemently rejected by the Mayo TD and most senior deputy in the Dáil .

Cowen told the Dáil that his government was "determined to ensure that due process is followed" and that - if wrong-doing is uncovered - "people will face the legal consequences".

Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern (right) said that he "would prefer that the ten individuals involved [in the fraudulent share-buying scandal] be revealed", but that "due process must be allowed to take its course".

Meanwhile it has come to light that the annual report of the now nationalised Anglo Irish Bank, which is expected to be published on Friday, will reveal that a property owned by a member of (former bank boss) Sean FitzPatrick's family was rented by the bank. It is understood that this property is in London.

The Taoiseach stated that he regarded regulatory reform of banking as "a top priority".
In relation to the so-called 'Golden Circle' of ten fraudulent share buyers, he said the issue arose because of "due diligence by the government". He explained that the debts remained and his government would ensure that these debts would be collected by the bank.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny (left) said the government had been "far too timid" about the situation in Ireland's financial institutions, because it was responsible for the failure to regulate the banks properly.
He asked the Taoiseach if he agreed that "a fraud has been perpetrated on the Irish Stock Exchange".

Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore (right) asked why Brian Cowen, when he was Minister for Finance, ordered the Revenue Commissioners to reverse its decision to impose stamp duty on Contracts for Difference (CFD).
These are high-risk investment 'products' where investors can bet on the future direction of a stock, without having to actually buy shares.
Eamon Gilmore said Brian Cowen had already confirmed that he had been lobbied about the issue, and asked for the identity of those involved.

In reply the Taoiseach said as far as he recalled, the lobbying came from "a professional body", but he promised to check with the Department and provide details.

Meanwhile the Green Party has said that it "could review its support for the government if politicians are implicated in the latest banking scandal".
"We are still committed to remaining in government, but that is not an open-ended commitment," the party's chairman, Senator Dan Boyle (left), told a news agency.
Remaining questions about the scandals should be answered quickly instead of the recent 'drip-drip' of revelations, so the damage to Ireland's reputation could be repaired, Boyle added.

After the debate Fine Gael Enda Kenny stated that the public deserved to know the names of the 'Golden Circle' members.
Speaking on RTÉ's Six-One TV News, he said the Irish people now own Anglo Irish Bank and "are entitled to know what is going on".

I wholeheartedly agree, as anyone with a sound mind would. And to go one step further: I do not understand why the government appears to know nothing about all these scandals, and still - after the matters have emerged into the public domain - makes no active efforts to find out what was - and is - going on.
Is it the high level of pure incompetence in our government we have to blame for that, or is Fianna Fáil fully aware of more skeletons hidden in the government's cupboards...?

The Emerald Islander

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think the shareholders who have lost a large chunk of their retirement savings deserve to know as well.

Seems to me Ireland's reputation has been irreparably damaged and it will be a very long time before any non-Irish who cannot keep track of the shennanigans will risk their money in Ireland again. The golden goose has its feet in the air methinks.

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